DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit is looking for developers to fix up a northwest side neighborhood.

The Fitzgerald Revitalization project will involve fixing up about 100 homes in the area of Livernois and McNichols and transforming 257 vacant lots into what the city calls “productive landscapes” that can include agricultural, energy and ecological uses. Developers who want to be involved must submit proposals by August 26, with winners to be notified at the end of September.

The city is hosting two information sessions and two tours for interested developers ahead of the Aug. 26 deadline.

About the plan

In partnership with neighborhood residents, the city has developed a framework plan to address more than 25 acres of vacant, publicly owned land as part of a pilot project within the Fitzgerald neighborhood in northwest Detroit. The plan provides a framework to activate and improve vacant parcels that balances the needs for greater open space, population density and rehab of existing homes, as well as needs for community gathering and recreation, opportunities to develop new productive landscape projects and the needs for long-term maintenance.

The city says the vision for the Fitzgerald Revitalization Project is to create a comprehensive strategy to address all vacant, publicly owned properties in the project area, which will contribute to neighborhood stabilization, increased property values, and improved quality of life of residents.

The three-part implementation strategy includes:

• Creation of a neighborhood park and greenway to be maintained by the Parks and Recreation Department
• Development of economically self-sustaining, productive landscapes in partnership with one or more Productive Landscape Developers or Development Teams
• Rehabilitation of all salvageable, publicly owned structures and implementation of low-maintenance landscape strategies in partnership with a Housing Developer

“We are excited about the prospects of using landscape design and preservation of existing homes to support neighborhood redevelopment and eliminate blight,” Maurice Cox, city planning director, said in a statement. “We expect that Fitzgerald will lead the way in improving quality of life in some of our other neighborhoods.”

One of the more visionary aspects of the plan is how the city will deal with vacant parcels, one of the bigger questions facing leaders as they look to improve neighborhoods. The lots will either be converted into a public greenway and neighborhood park that will be redeveloped and maintained by the city; be turned into smaller social spaces maintained in partnership with the community; or larger clusters of vacant lots can be redeveloped into productive landscapes – whether for crop production, stormwater management or other uses determined through this RFP process. Other individual parcels can be redeveloped into lower-maintenance meadows in partnership with a housing developer who will rehabilitate vacant, publicly owned houses next door.

“There will be a place for every kind of Detroiter, and because of the affordable housing component, as the neighborhood continues to improve, we will continue to have a place for affordable housing,” Arthur Jemison, head of the city’s Housing and Revitalization Department, said in a statement.

The plan makes financial sense, as well, Jemison added.

“The cost of new construction versus rehabilitation is real, and we believe this project will also create an opportunity for medium-size developers and builders in our community,” he said.

The Livernois/McNichols planning area encompasses more than 10 neighborhoods and is bounded by Eight Mile to the north, Woodward Avenue and Highland Park to the east, the Lodge Freeway (M-10) to the south, and Wyoming Avenue to the west.

For more information about the project, go to fitzgerald-detroit.com or detroitmi.gov/fitzgerald.

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